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BLOOD PYTHON
[python curtis]




GEOGRAPHY The blood python is known from four color phases [so far] the Maylasian "Red" phase blood [python curtus brongersmai] these originate from Sumatra,and Malaysia.They can also be found in Thailand and on various islands in that range."Yellow" phase red bloods can be found on the island ranges including, Pinang and possibly Bangka.The Borneo blood [curtus breitensteini] occurs in Borneo [duh!] it is distiguished by having smaller granular scales between the eye and the lip scales[the malaysians lip scales reach the eye],and is the lightest color blood. The Black phase blood [curtus curtus] occurs in western Sumatra it may have bright orange eyes and is characterized by a dark color.The red phase blood appears to be the largest.Typical habitat for bloods are slow moving streams and swamps.They bury in the mud on river banks and wait for unsuspecting prey to come and take a drink.

CARE-Blood pythons that were imported had a poor reputation for feeding and that they were irrascible animals.Many died years ago from inexperienced keepers.I have seen some imports that were flat out scary and some that were gentle.In factI have a female blood in my collection imported years ago that I got from Crutchfield reptiles.This animal came to me extremely thin however never attempted to bite me ever!I have her to this day and she has never once tried to bite or strike at me!In fact she will not take food from tongs and I have to leave the room before she will eat.I have another bigger male who was imported 7 years ago that I still have and I used may hands to pick him up to clean his enclosure and he was always pleasant and shy.So I would say that they are not all "mean".I remember the first blood python I ever received it was a borneo blood I worked in a pet store in the reptile section and opened the bag wow that was a nice animal.It was also the most frustrating I never got it to feed no matter what I tried the animal was sold to a dealer and I do not know what happened to it.I also received an incredible bright purple specimen!This was a malaysian except that it was not red but a light purple lavender color with reduced black.I pulled the snake out of the bag and immediately informed the store owner that I was purchasing the animal to put in on hold for me.He did,however after constant feeding attempts I told him to sell the animal.I am not sure what caused this animals color but if I knew then what I know now with the expensive prices of color phase animals I definately would have kept that animal!I have never seen another that beautiful the Barkers "albinos" dont come close.Any how after a few more blood pythons I realized what I was lacking.After learning about the snakes habitat and geography I decided To put a thick layer of mulch in the enclosures with litlle light and just totally soaked the cages.Guess what?I had two bloods for two years that never ate once as soon as they were placed in these enclosures they ate within 3 weeks!I knew I stumbled onto something!!!!

ACCLIMATING IMPORTS -One thing to remember about bloods is although they can sometimes be very aggressive and strike with what seems amazing speed for a big ol snake they are actually shy animals.When you first receive your blood{we are talking imports here] The first thing you will want to do is de parasitize it.These snakes are highly parasitized with bacteria usually if nothing else.So a good dose of flagyl is in order.Some vets prescribe a higher dose of this medication for bloods than most other snakes suggesting 50-75 mg./kg. instead of 25-35 mg./kg. I think the lower dose is acceptable however in the early days I used about 100-200 mg./kg and never killed a blood however this is a dangerously high dose dont do it!!!Also they should be dosed with panacur.They should be given an enclosure that can hold humidity!No open top aquariums.A thick layer of mulch and moss should be the substrate.This should be at least as high as the snake because imports love to bury their entire bodies.This will also help the animal to feel comfortable and feed.They should be given a hide box which will be utilized, however most will prefer burying to hiding.They should not be given bright lights and they absolutely need a night time period.They seem to be nocturnal and you will most likely see them at night.This is incedentally the time to feed imports- more on that latter.The humidity should be 80-100%.They should have a basking spot of around 90'.Ambient cage temps should be between 83-85.Remember that this type of enclosure needs frequent maintanence to keep clean.However you should leave your blood alone for the most part unless absolutely necessary until it has fed at least for a month or two straight.They are very shy animals and some will not hesitate to defend themselves by biting and biting hard!They are very fast and trust me you can not avoid a bite if its coming so be warned.The best time to feed your blood would be at night.Bloods seem to prefer dead prey items because they may be intimidated by a live animal and may just strike at it not eat it.I have never had a blood prefer anything else besides rats or mice and most will start feeding on these animals.However I have heard of some accepting chicks as first food but this is not my experience and I have had many imported bloods.They do need a large water container and most will soak usually at night after they come out of their hiding spot or their buried spot.*****CAREo.k. back to general care.Captive born blood pythons seem to be not as sensitive to humidity as the imports.They are much like emerald tree boas in that respect.Captive born borneo bloods are less affected than either the red or the black.However they should still have at least 70% humidity and this should be raised to 100% during shedding periods.I have noticed on my imports that if the humidity is not high enough they develop a sort of dandruf on the skin.It is from being too dry.They may also get respiratory infections if the humidity drops too low as well as the reluctance to feed.I have had bloods for years that fed fine in humid conditions but if the enclosure bacame too dry would go off feed.Substrate can consist of mulch,cork bark,moss,vermiculite.or newspaper.If newspaper is used it should be soaked every morning to keep the humidity high.I use a mixture of vermiculite moss and cork bedding.My animals have been in captivity long enough where I can cover the bottom with a thin layer however they will not hesitate to bury if I put in a thick layer.Also benefit to bloods and this should probably be used if you use newspaper is a moist box.A moist box is a hide box [I use rubbermaid tubs] filled with a moss mulch mixture.If you use newspaper I suggest this type of hide box.It can be used for any species really and it definately helps with shedding the skin.They also need frequent upkeep to make sure they do not become moldy.The mulch and moss should be moistened with waterthe box should be secure and have a lid with a hole cut in the top.Most snakes enjoy their time in the moist box.Blood pythons are not long animals however they are big guys.Malaysian reds might only be 5ft but can weigh 20 pounds.A 6 or 7' specimen may weigh 30 pounds!Borneo bloods are smaller and 4 ft. is probably average.The black blood is similar to the malyasian red reaching about 5 ft. However remember that these are averages and specimens may be shorter or longer than this.Adults will require a cage size of at least 4'long 2' wide a 2' high although enclosures do not need to be that tall as they really do not climb often.Juveniles can be kept in shoe box -sweater box size enclosures.

FEEDING-Young bloods are incredible feeders.They can down as much as you give them and can grow 10 times their size in one year!They should be fed on small mice every three days.Large specimens will require large rats maybe small rabbits once every 10 days.They do tend to become overweight in captivity however this is a very robust read that FAT snake and being overweight is probably in the eye of the beholder.Breeding females need alot of weight anyhow.

BREEDING-Some would say that bloods do not need to be cycled to breed.And you know they are right!However there is one kink in the deal,the females do not produce eggs!I have had a pair of blood pythons that will copulate when placed together any time of the year.The only problem is that I have never received eggs from them.Females need to be cooled to ovulate other wise the breedings are fruitless and will leave you biting your nails after a couple months thinking well she looks fatter when are those eggs coming!They arent.I had a female even refuse to feed after one of these breedings so I definately assumed she was gravid,well its a few years later she is either seriously egg bound or not gravid which do you think?The light cycle should accompany the temperature drop.Of course from 12 hours on to 8 hours on.Night temps should be allowed to drop to around 75' dont go to low on bloods or you may have a sick snake on your hands.The normal warm up during the day should also apply.These temps should be maintained for a couple months.After which you may resume feeding both sexes.Males may refuse to eat however.They should be sprayed frequently during this time to simulate the rainy season.Then they should be placed together.Males may combat,although I have never needed to use that method to induce a breeding.Females are typically like ball pythons shedding around 20-30 days after ovulation and then laying eggs in another 20 -30 days after that.There are typically 10 - 15 eggs in a clutch.However there can be any where between 5 and 25 depending on weight and size of the female and the frequency the female has been bred in the past.They should be incubated between 88 and 90 degrees ,at which temps they should hatch between 58-70 days.Young measure about 12"-16".They typically take a month and a half to two months to shed for the first time.However they may begin feeding as early as 2 weeks. They are very shy hatchlings and should not be slap fed or tease fed.Rather a dead prey animal should be slightly warmed and placed in front of the hide box and left over night.Tearing away the skin on the head of a pink will also help.Some bloods are very shy and do not begin feeding for three months after hatching.After they begin feeding they grow very fast if fed alot of food sometimes growing 10 times their hatchling size in one year!

INDEX: SIZE- 4. HANDLING-2-3. HOUSING-3. FEEDING-4. TEMPERAMENT-1-4

NOTES size is a four really because I like large snakes however this snake is not large enough to put a threat to your life and small enough where the enclosures do not have to be huge.They are large enough to be very impressive yet small enough to be handlable.They are a personal favorite!Handling is a 2 for imports and a three for c.b. they do become very handlable if you work with them alot and I have never needed assistance holding the biggest full grown specimen.And feel comfortable doing so alone unlike some of my other animals.Housing is a three because they do require semi large enclosures with high humidity but nothing extravagant.Feeding is a four because after they begin feeding they can be monsters!Temperament is a one for imports although as I said earlier some are very nice most being smaller specimes and a 4 for c.b. because they do become quite tame and are a pleasure to own.
SMOKIN BLOOD AT THE TOP COURTESY OF REPVET.COM

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